The great Nicole, our former nanny and current STELLA service jack-of-all-trades asked me for a recipe for risotto. I thought it was just a few steps, so I started writing. Well, like a risotto, simplicity became complexity.
I don’t really have a recipe I use. It is like life, there are just principles to follow.
1) Right kind of rice (La bomba or other Italian or Spanish short grain rices, arborrio also).
2) A solid bottom pan that holds heat well is good since you keep adding new ingredients and you don’t want to lose heat. That is why I used that monster fucking heavy thing always.
3) Melt oil (butter or olive oil) in pan. More than you think you need.
4) Have a drink nearby. Preferably wine. Have a sip.
5) Finely dice some onion or other root veggie to give it earthiness (for example, mushrooms or even celery could work if it were finely diced).
6) Add rice while cooking over somewhere above medium heat. Like 5.5-6 on our oven.
7) Stir rice until it absorbs all the lipids and looks a little translucent. I think we are getting nuttiness in the rice here.
8) Start adding some liquids to cook the rice and develop the flavor. Stocks are pretty key., You can experiment. I kept throwing in carrot juice to make it healthier and give it that wicked color. But you need something with a full taste like chixn, beef, veggie, or seafood stock.
9) Throw in some white wine in there at some point. Maybe 1-2 cups. Or Sherry, or whiskey. Play with flavors. You don’t want to break the bank here.
10) Keep adding liquid and stirring pretty often. The recipes act like it is one teaspoon at a time and then stir 40 times. I never found that necessary. See 1 and 2 above.
11) Grate some zippy cheese at some point like reggiano or parmesean.
12) Keep adding liquid. You want that thick saucy consistency that comes from the rices starches slowly lending with the liquid. The whole process takes anywhere form 40-60 minutes. I can’t remember.
13) It’s done when the rice is as you like it. Ever so slightly firm for me. Some foodies might have some idea of crunch or over cooking. Whatever. It is your fucking risotto.
14) Think about what you want to put on top or in, like roasted veggies, meat, fungi. Actually, you probably want to do this around #1 or #2.
15) Throw in some herbs at some point. I don’t like to overcook herbs, so I wait until towards the end. Unless it is bay or something that needs lots of time to blend.
16) Put the cheese in at the end, fold in other ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
17) Drink some more wine of any quality you can afford. Enjoy your creation and ponder what other flavors you want to add next time. At some point you want to do risotto with fungi of some kind.